While struggling through Jacques Barzun’s chapter The
Invisible College [Page 191 ff.] in his From Dawn to Decadence (1500 to the
Present): 500 Years of Western Cultural Life [HarperCollins, NY, 2000], which
was a discursive, anecdotal account of 16th and 17th
Century scientists and thinkers, with only a brief mention of the first
Invisible College that became London’s Royal Society, I realized that the team
of Roswell investigators responsible for the Kodachrome slides imbroglio were a
kind of “invisible college” or, as I see it, an invisible collage of persons
seeking to find out what the meaning and import is of a few Kodak slides
showing the odd image of a humanoid-like being.
The college or collage of persons have the earmarks of a
group regimented to pursue, research-like, what they found in their ongoing
pursuit of the Roswell mythos.
In the interregnum between the discovery of the slides and
an explanatory event scheduled for May 5th of 2015, this collage of
individuals has accrued a raft of informal members who also want to be part of
the anticipated extraterrestrial presence the collage sees in the body
photographed allegedly in 1947, and thought by them to be proof of the alleged
Roswell flying disk crash with recovered alien bodies.
These extra members of the collage are made up of
non-believers (skeptics) and die-hard believers in the Roswell mythos.
The collage has become a maelstrom of argumentative
individuals, not unlike those in the first “invisible colleges” but very much
unlike those in Jacques Vallee’s invisible college or the academics I find
habituating our private UFO web-site.
The discordant collage members are often barbaric in their
responses to the collage’s initial members and each other; that is, they tear
and rend statements and opinions by everyone who presumes to get immersed in
the slides debate.
Barzun, in his book, allows for such barbarism by true
intellectuals, as that often foments advancement in science and thought,
whereas in the collage setting such barbarism foments a nasty, vile, toxic
atmosphere that has killed, in the past, and is doing so again, as to what UFOs
are or what really happened in Roswell in 1947.
For me, the slides are a novelty, with attendant elements
The fervid disputes also bring to mind the rabid disputes
within psychiatry and psychology during the psychoanalytic heyday, or the
fevered accounts between Fred Hoyle and The Big Bang theorists.
But the slides brouhaha is nastier because it houses persons
who lack dignity and intellectual decorum, on both sides of the argumentative
But as one renown French skeptic has it, “That’s Ufology!”